When the chancellor announced the stamp duty holiday on the 8 July, he created a housing market boom.
The boom has seen conveyancing firms, surveyors, mortgage providers, and estate agents struggling to meet demand.
While the revitalisation of the housing market is a good thing – jobs have been saved – the difficulties of getting so many conveyancing transactions across the line before the end of the stamp duty holiday on the 31 March 2021 means an estimated 325,000 homebuyers who agree to purchase a property before the end of this year could miss out on the stamp duty holiday.
It now takes an average of more than five months from agreeing a sale to completion, meaning if you are not in the conveyancing process already, you might miss out on the stamp duty tax break.
For some, the stamp duty holiday has meant they can increase their deposit or the amount they spend on a home. If they fail to factor in the possibility of paying the tax on their purchase, they risk not being able to complete if they go beyond the 31 March deadline.
Many people underestimate how long it can take to buy a home especially if the home they are purchasing is in a chain. If would-be home buyers pull out of their purchase on realising they won’t make the stamp duty holiday deadline, chains will collapse.
Unless the chancellor takes steps now to extend or taper off the stamp duty holiday, the next five months will be a nervous time for would-be home buyers.